Rollins hitless in return to leadoff spot

Rollins hitless in return to leadoff spot

ATLANTA -- Jimmy Rollins stepped to the plate in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday at Turner Field with fans chanting three numbers before every pitch.

"208! 208!"

Rollins was hitting just .208 before he struck out swinging to end an 0-for-5 night in the Phillies' 5-4 loss to the Braves in 10 innings. It was Rollins' first time back in the lineup after manager Charlie Manuel benched him four consecutive games in an effort to turn around his season.

He struck out twice, grounded out twice and popped up once. Rollins, who wasn't immediately available to comment, is hitless in his past 24 at-bats.

"His timing wasn't good," Manuel said. "It wasn't like he was swinging real bad, but he didn't hit a ball hard. His timing was a little bit off. He'll be OK. He'll be fine. He'll be OK."

Rollins entered the series opener against the Braves at Turner Field hitting just .211 with a .254 on-base percentage overall this season, and just .195 with a .237 on-base percentage when hitting leadoff.

"Jimmy is one of the biggest reasons why we've been successful the last few years," Manuel said before the game. "He played a big part in that. There are other guys on the field who played parts in that, but Jimmy, he plays a big part in that, especially when he's playing real good."

Manuel said he was hoping he sees the short, compact swing that made Rollins the National League's MVP in 2007.

"Jimmy knows his swing and his swing is short and quick," Manuel said. "He uses his legs. That's where he gets his power. I think at times he hits a lot of fly balls, he gets under a lot of balls because his swing gets long."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.